Maybe that's how it worked when the telephone was introduced. And the car. The radio, television, computer. It's certainly the way the iPod, the cellphone, and HDTV became the main course.
Now, social media has reached devour status as the technology de jour.
While I've been a regular nibbler on various social media platforms from Facebook to Blogs to Twitter to LinkedIn, until a couple of recent events it was just that... nibbling. I was simply taking a taste of what seemed like fun, informative and sometimes ridiculous reading and writing, primarily because so many others were raving about them while they snacked. An occasional status update and photo upload on Facebook would get a few clever comments from "friends" I didn't even know I had, and, when finally tied to Twitter, my followers also grew. But, unbeknownst to me, that was still just a little bite of the pie.
As a member of the media, whether in my prior career as a television sports anchor/reporter or during my current efforts as a play-by-play broadcaster, gathering news and information about the topics and teams being covered is critical for background and proper preparations. Newspapers and searching the Internet were the tools of the trade.
Then, last fall, the buzz began about the breakup of the Big 12 conference. But the story was moving so fast, in so many different directions, even Internet searches couldn't keep up. A more spontaneous source was needed. Suddenly (and I do mean quick), tweets started flying back and forth from individuals who seemed to be in the middle of the mess. While not always accurate and certainly not the end all be all, it became clear this was the way to keep up with this particular story. Twitter was now a news and information source. An entrée that should be included on the way to the full meal.
Since that time, tweets have turned into to the quickest score updates, the most immediate weather notices and often the starting point of stories that are best developed elsewhere. With a little tweaking of your Twitter account, those still using the forum for announcing their whereabouts to the world can be easily filtered.
Facebook, on the other hand, still seemed to be just an appetizer of fun with little to offer the overall hunger for information. That is, until groups, businesses and individuals began figuring out that all that "time wasting" by those using the platform meant millions of eyeballs staring at a screen, sometimes for hours at a time. And for many of those eyeballs, the first stop on their way to any other morsel served on the Internet. One of my favorite fast food restaurants, for example, began serving up "Torchy's Taco of the Month" and other tidbits, including coupons, through status updates from their Facebook page. No longer is a phone call needed to find out the specials at many regular stops. Thousands of other examples are popping up daily.
|DFW - 1st week of February, 2011.|
5 days below freezing with ice/snow.
But the event that really provided the realization that Facebook could be a new source of real information for me was the great ice and snow storm of Super Bowl week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
While television news outlets were doing their usual regurgitation of the exact same information from the same reporter standing out in the same location over and over and over, Facebook status updates were being fed to my wall from every corner of the "affected" area. Included in that was information from individuals at Super Bowl events, like Media Day, providing instant updates, photos, etc. The "rolling blackouts" that hit the area were best reported by updates from those with and without power, showing where the latest blackout was occurring and for how long. Oncor's update on Facebook explained the reason for the blackouts long before the television news outlets correctly reported the same information. My local YMCA informed me of operating time and class schedule adjustments through Facebook status and note page updates. Even school closing were more easily found through links on Facebook than waiting for the scroll on the television news or even navigating their webpages for the proper links.
Yes, Facebook has now moved from my appetizer menu to the entrée page as well.
Finally, the dessert offering. Live chat.
|Tommy Tuberville waiting for a recruit|
to fax in his National Letter of Intent.
This photo, from the Tech Athletic Dept
website, is an example of those provided
during their live chat.
During this past week, along with the Super Bowl and the Snowmaggedon in North Texas, another event allowed for the use of new media in a way that transformed that sliver of the technology pie... at least for me. Recruiting day for college football. Instead of tweets from recruiting "experts" or updates on reporter blogs or a variety of other ways to try and keep up with the list of players signing at the school I have a vested interest in following, Texas Tech, the University's athletic department did a brilliant job of using live chat to keep everyone updated in real time. Included in the chat was head coach Tommy Tuberville's comments and, in my opinion, even more compelling, photos from inside the coaches offices while the day progressed. This was, by far, the most inclusive and spontaneous information flow I've ever seen from Texas Tech and the best use of live chat. So now, along with Facebook and Twitter, I'll add live chats to the list on my menu of information flow.
The technology table is filling up faster than ever, with tools like the iPad and smartphones improving the ability to take whatever size bite you want to take whenever you want to take it. Now there's really no excuse for being hungry. Maybe for being a little too full!